This essay describes the surreality of Aboriginal housing in Australia, where images reroute remedial concern from the literal conditions toward a pathologization of the indigenous householder. Using governmental data against governmental interpretation, the essay shows how a pragmatic issue of substandard original construction, undersupervised repairs, poor to nonexistent maintenance, and rapid shifts in policy attention is hidden to reinsert householders as the main culprits of substandard living conditions in many Aboriginal communities. A dirty literalism that sees the surreal in the everyday is required to unpack the means and the methods through which such maneuvers are made.

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